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Bella Vista's Blog

Check-in on our New Zealand travel blog for latest news, events and updates - along with a splash of personality from the whole team at Bella Vista!  


Hello Hanmer Springs

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With scenic hikes, thermal springs, skiing and thrill-seeker activities, the alpine village of Hanmer Springs is the ultimate destination for families, with toddlers through to teens. With so many Hanmer Springs attractions on offer, here’s our guide to the most enjoyable family activities. 

Best views and short walk in Hanmer Springs  

Take a 30-minute wander up the pine-needled Conical Hill track, directly behind town, for the best views of Hanmer Springs and the surrounding Hurunui district. The track is sited in the Heritage Forest, a Crown-protected mix of native trees and exotic flora, some of which were planted over one hundred years ago. It’s a hill climb but this zig-zag track is one of the best mountain buggy walks in Hanmer Springs with pleasant seating at the top to enjoy the views. Afterwards, head to the popular Hanmer Thermal Pools and Spa for a relaxing soak their range of hot pools.  


Best pre-schooler activity  

The Tarndale Reserve Fairy Trail takes top prize as the most enchanted of them all when it comes to Hanmer walks. Bewitch the under-fives as they search for brightly coloured miniature doors along the lower Dog Stream track, opposite the Brooke Dawson Reserve. It appears magical fairies exist in this Hanmer Forest walk so expect a lot of noisy door knocking. Encourage the kids to explore the intricately painted facades, door to door and the rock art scattered along the track, for hidden details.  

Top tip: After crossing the Dog Stream bridge, follow the path into the forest. The first fairy door can be seen at child’s height at the base of a tree. Stoop or you might miss it! 


Best wildlife Hanmer Springs 

Combine the fairy trail walk with a visit to the nearby Hanmer Springs Animal Park, just a 10-minute stroll from the village. This is one of the best Hanmer Springs attractions for families as it’s home to twenty-five distinct species of animals, from lambs to llamas and a walk-in wallaby enclosure. The kids are encouraged to handfeed the wallabies and other farm animals. What a delight for little marsupial fans! Pack a picnic, watch the kids jump on the trampoline and enjoy the tranquil surroundings, as your new friends graze close by.  


Best Hanmer Springs attractions for teens 

Treat the teens to an off-road quad bike experience where they’ll forge streams, tackle bumps, and plough through mud. This is one of the more adventurous things to do in Hanmer Springs. The 2-hour tour with the expert guides at Hanmer Springs Quad Biking Tours caters for ages sixteen and above, with absolutely no prior experience needed. Young kids from age four, can jump into an off-road buggy with a parent and enjoy the non-stop thrills too of this rugged back country, most visitors miss. 


Best Hanmer Springs Cheap Eats 

Family holidays should mean a break from cooking, without breaking the bank. For reasonably priced, tasty takeout, check out the menu at PJ’s (who claim to make the best burger in Canterbury). Using locally sourced meat and produce, the PJ signature burger combines Prime North Canterbury beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, fresh tomato, relish and their very own secret sauce. Visitors consistently rate PJ’s as one of the best burger places to eat in Hanmer Springs. The fish and chips are great too, especially for fussy eaters. 

The sweetest little spot in Hanmer Springs is the famous Fudge Shop on the Conical Hill Road. This team have been churning out mouth-watering sugar, spice and all fudge nice, for 20 years. The kids will squeal over the rainbow of colours displayed behind the counter. Imagine a buttery square of rich gingernut crumble, salted caramel or for a New Zealand twist, pineapple lump fudge. Oh my! Add this decadent den to your Hanmer Springs to do list.   

With so many family-oriented things to do in Hanmer Springs, ask the Bella Vista team for recommendations. They can also book private group tours on your behalf and suggest family-friendly places to eat in Hanmer Springs.